Mississippi State skipper John Cohen is searching for a new pitching coach.
Butch Thompson, who has been with Cohen since his return to Starkville in 2009, has left the program to become the new head coach at Auburn. The Tigers announced his hire on Thursday afternoon.
“We are proud and happy for Butch Thompson, and there is no one more deserving of this opportunity,” Cohen said. “Our nationwide search for a new pitching coach begins immediately. We look forward to the new hire developing our talented group of arms and recruiting tirelessly as we continue our goal of winning championships at Mississippi State.”
Thompson is no stranger to the plains, where he served as Auburn’s pitching coach and recruiting coordinator from 2006-08. The Amory and Itawamba Community College product is thrilled about his first chance as a head coach in the Southeastern Conference.
“This is the opportunity of a lifetime to be the head baseball coach at Auburn University,” Thompson said.
In addition to his stints at State and Auburn, Thompson was head coach at Jefferson State (Ala.) Community College in 1997 and served as an assistant coach at Georgia, Huntingdon College and twice at Birmingham-Southern.
Thompson was named the National Assistant Coach of the Year by Baseball America in 2014 and is credited in the development of several MSU pitchers such as former No. 1 pick Chris Stratton of Tupelo and current Oakland Athletics starter Kendall Graveman.
Thompson fulfilled his duties as the Bulldogs’ associate head coach through the final fall practice on Wednesday night and addressed the team Thursday morning before departing for Auburn. Thompson interviewed for the position on Oct. 12.
Thompson is the second pitching coach under Cohen to be hired as a head coach in the SEC, joining Kentucky’s Gary Henderson.